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  • Writer's pictureSailing Koinonia

S/V Koinonia Weekly Sailing Log - Puerto Plata, DR to Spanish Wells, Bahamas (Apr 24th - May 14th, 2024)

Highlights: boat projects while waiting for weather; Ben’s cousin Brooks and his wife Virginia welcome their new baby girl into the world; made a 4-day non-stop passage from Ocean World, Puerto Plata, DR to Spanish Wells, North Eleuthera, Bahamas; catching lots of fish; reuniting with our dear friends Tommy and Tracy on SV Sailin Shoes, reuniting with local friends who live in Spanish Wells; Amber’s parents fly in for a visit.

Wed Apr 24 - kids do school. Maddy awoke feeling ill and very nauseous; unsure if it is a virus or some kind of water/ food borne illness.  Ben and Amber work on boat.  Ben awoke late at night feeling nauseous, which is very rare for him.  He fed the fish and felt better with no other symptoms.

Thu Apr 25 - kids do school. Ben continues to work on boat projects.  Ben’s cousin Brooks and his wife Virginia bring their baby girl, Sidney Elizabeth Ward, into the world. Amber made picadillo con papas for dinner.

Fri Apr 26 - kids do school. Ben went to La Sirena (grocery and general store like a small Walmart) to buy some supplies for the boat painting projects and groceries with our cab driver Youvany.  Finished priming the forward head. Surprised the girls with a 2-hour horse riding excursion on the beach just south of the marina. Our driver’s brother-in-law met us afterward and brought us four huge breadfruit; probably the last we will see for long time. Ordered some cheap fried chicken from the marina restaurant and made salads for dinner.

Sat Apr 27 - rainy and windy. Lizzy made a coffee cake for breakfast. Kids did school to make up for lost time from our recent passages, then watched movies the rest of the day. Ben finished painting the walls in the forward head. Amber made quesadillas with leftover picadillo con papas. Ben made a ragu pasta for dinner.  Madelyn got sick in the night and we went to bed around 1:30am after caring for her.

Sun Apr 28 - Rainy and windy today.  Woke up and Ben made breakfast with cheese grits, eggs, and coffee. Madelyn continued feeling unwell all day.  Worship time followed by movies.  Ben prepped the countertops in both heads for refinishing.  Ben made a stovetop roasted chicken dish with rice for dinner.  Continuing to monitor the weather for a window to get to the Bahamas.

Mon Apr 29 - breakfast and school. Maddy is feeling a little improved today. Ben worked  on top coating the countertops and caulking all the seams. Our stocks are up nicely today. Weather is looking like we may have a window on Thu or Fri to leave for the Bahamas.  Roasted the breadfruit we got from our taxi driver and Amber made split pea soup for dinner.

Tue Apr 30 - strong winds prevailed with clouds on the mountains all day but some sun peaked out today. Kids did school. After school, we walked to the restaurant with the swimming pool and had a leisurely dinner; we were the only people at the restaurant but it was a weekday and the sky was threatening rain.  Studied the forecast and a departure on Thursday looks promising.

Wed May 1 - woke up and did some family exercise since today is the first day it hasn’t rained in the morning in over a week.  We made the decision to leave for the Bahamas tomorrow. The window is only about 24 hours long, so we are planning to go to Great Inagua to clear in, then we will hop our way north at every opportunity.  Picked up the laundry then came back to the boat and topped up on diesel and stowed our clothes and gear to prepare for departure.  Ben made Puerto Rican beans and rice and a baked breadfruit au gratin dish with thyme and parmesan.

Thu May 2 - departure delayed! The latest forecast shows better conditions if we wait to leave tomorrow morning.  It’s a bit of a shock to the crew since we were all mentally prepared to leave today. Kids do school. Stong wind and heavy rain settles in, reassuring us we made the right call to delay.  Sadly, the 3pm update made a dramatic shift in the sea state. After consulting with our friend Don and validating what we are seeing, it looks like our departure time is TBD.  Everyone was sad because Amber’s parents are arriving in the Bahamas on 5/12 and we need to get underway ASAP.  Ate leftover split pea soup for dinner.

Fri May 3 - sadly, no reprieve in the latest forecast.  Kids do school.  Ben worked on route planning to help optimize our progress north/west when the weather and sea state improves.  We hope to have a window of at least 3 days and 2 nights.

Sat May 4 - heavy rain nearly all day. The kids catch up on some school work. Ben made a huge breakfast with eggs, grits, hashed green breadfruit (tastes almost exactly like potatoes). We did some exercise on the boat and played games. Continued to monitor weather and it looks like we may have a departure window Tuesday of next week. Prepared several meals for a long offshore run of at least 2-3 days to make maximal progress north.  Formulated a list of questions for a virtual showing of an RV we are looking at tomorrow afternoon.

Sun May 5 - breakfast followed by worship time, then some games, then lunch.  Had a virtual showing of an RV and truck that we are considering buying, after we close the sale of the boat in June. Weather forecast still looks good for a Tuesday departure. Watched the original “Mary Poppins” for our family movie night.

Mon May 6 - calmer today, which hopefully bodes well for our departure tomorrow.  The forecast looks good and all the models appear to be closely aligned, boosting our confidence. The kids did school and Ben cleaned out both heads and took one last load of laundry to the marina’s drop-off service. Ben and Amber put an offer letter together for the truck and RV. Cleared out of the DR with immigration and discussed departure plans with the Armada (Navy) and the marina dock hands. Ordered pizzas for dinner and everyone got showers. Early bedtime so we are fully rested for the long passage.

Tue May 7 - Fri May 10:  we depart from Ocean World Marina at 8:00am with our dispatcho from the Armada; good wind but the seas were a bit lumpy.  Winds ranged between 15-22kts on our first day.

Day two, we came into the lee of Little Inagua with a fair wind and calmer seas. In route to the Aklins/ Crooked Island, Ben caught a nice wahoo.

By early morning of day 3, we made the lee side of the Aklins. On our approach to Long Island we confirmed the weather was favorable, so we left Clarence Town in our wake and pressed on. By mid morning, we enjoyed excellent trolling action off Long Island, landing multiple fish, including Ben’s personal best Yellowfin Tuna. 

By the morning of day four, we approached Davis channel at the south end of Eleuthera, also known as “Whale’s Tail.” By 1:30pm, we made it through the world famous “Current Cut,” making a max speed of 11.3kts with a strong positive current.  By 3:30pm, we entered the Spanish Wells south inlet and made our way to the slip, where our friends Tommy and Tracy Knox as well as LaToya and Isaiah Wenger met us at the dock and helped secure our dock lines. After hugs all around, Ben and Tommy went to Customs and Immigration to complete our clearance, then we enjoyed dinner provided by Tommy and Tracy, showers, and A/C.  Ben rested while the girls all went out with Tommy and Tracy and then had ice cream at Papa Scoops before returning to the boat.

Sat May 11 - woke up around 9am and went to the farmer’s market on the grounds in front of the Methodist Church in Spanish Wells. We ate breakfast sandwiches made with Johnny cakes and Amber got her street corn that we’ve been thinking about for more than a year! We also bought some crafts and art work. The kids made some friends and played on the playground while Ben and Amber ran a few errands. Filled our propane tank and Richard Aulbrey’s.  Ben cleaned a small tuna  we couldn’t fit in our freezer and then he and Maddy delivered it to our friends, the Wenger family.  Amber made a pecan pie and Ben made beans and rice. We hosted Tommy and Tracy on “Koinonia” for dinner. They made pork tenderloin, salad, and a savory tomato pie.

Sun May 12 - got ready and went to worship at the Gospel Chapel, SW. Amber got a fruit basket prize for being the mother with the most children present in Sunday school. We couldn’t believe it! At 11:45, Ben left and went to pick up Amber’s parents from the airport in North Eleuthera. Their flight arrived a bit late due to some weather, but they made it through customs and immigration by 2:30pm.  Returned to SW on the Ferry and then went to the beach house they rented for the week. Spent the rest of the day relaxing and catching up. Ben made fried fish with beans and rice for dinner.

Mon Jun 13 - hung out at the beach house and made some tuna tartare for afternoon.  Tommy and Tracy came and hung out then went to Budda’s for dinner, then to Eagle’s Landing for ice cream.

Tue Jun 14 - hung out at the beach house with Mark and Paula. Ben went back to the boat and worked on the companionway stairs, while Amber, the girls, and Mark and Paula hung out on the beach. Grilled hamburgers for dinner, then went to prayer meeting at the Gospel Chapel.

God Bless,

SV Koinonia


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